Slack Technologies now worth more than $5 billion

While the purported “unicorn” status of some Vancouver-based startups has been called into question, one company with close ties to the city is ever more the real thing. (For those unfamiliar with venture capitalist lingo, a unicorn—sometimes called a narwhal in Canada—is a privately held company valued at more than $1 billion.) Slack Technologies Inc., developer of a popular and user-friendly intra- and inter-office messaging app, was founded by Vancouverite Stewart Butterfield in 2014 with offices in San Francisco and Vancouver. And while the California site has always been the corporate headquarters, the Yaletown location has been the main software development hub, now hosting more than 100 staff. (Butterfield himself divides his time between the two offices.) A new US$250-million funding round effectively values the enterprise at US$5.1 billion, despite the fact giants like Facebook and Microsoft have designs on the business messaging space.